Picture this: An autumn sun rises over an open field where a picture-perfect red barn sits squarely in the middle. White show tents dot the grounds, and eager shoppers dart in and out of them as they search booths full of vintage and antique merchandise. The acoustic strings of a live bluegrass band float across the field, and delicious scents from food trucks selling sweet tea, barbecue and Dutch apple pie tantalize your nose.
If this scene sounds like a dream come true, here's some good news: When entrepreneurs Amy Daniels and Julie Speed held the first Junk Ranch flea market event in September 2013, they made that dream a reality. The duo started small: The first event included around 30 vendors, mostly local. Now it's grown to three events a year and this year's fall event, held today and Saturday, will feature around 200 booths and 140 vendors who hail from all over the country. The event routinely draws crowds numbering in the thousands to Prairie Grove, pumping money into the local economy through fuel, food and lodging. Keeping the event in Prairie Grove was important to its founders; when shopping for a venue, they considered other locations, but ultimately decided they wanted to benefit Prairie Grove, where both live.
The Junk Ranch
WHEN — 10 a.m.-5 p.m. today; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday
WHERE — 11195 Centerpoint Church Road in Prairie Grove
COST — $10 today/$5 Saturday
INFO — facebook.com/thejunkranch/
"It increases our business tremendously, and we stay open late on [event] days," notes Carrie Kass, who owns the Southern Mercantile, an upscale antique and design store on Buchanan Avenue in Prairie Grove. Shoppers often migrate from the Junk Ranch to this part of downtown, known for its flea markets and antique stores, where many of the businesses offer special events. Kass says her store will "offer sample tastings of the great gourmet foods we sell at the store, and we'll make sure we are fully stocked with lots of antique and vintage treasures."
Thanks to the show's success, last year Daniels and Speed added a third event -- the Holly Jolly Junk Ranch, a Christmas-themed flea market, will be held Dec. 6-7. Daniels says the event has seen shoppers from California, New York and most of the states in between.
If you're one of the junk lovers planning on attending, here are some tips: Sign up for the Junk Ranch newsletter at the event's website to receive the vendor list and map. This will help you plot out your path so you can hit your favorite vendors as soon as possible. Be among the first in line to qualify for 50 prizes that include gift certificates from Magnolia Coffee House and Old School Vintage, as well as Junk Ranch tees and tickets to the Holly Jolly Christmas show. Pack cash and sunscreen. And, above all, bring a wagon and a cart -- you will almost certainly need it. There is a reason that so many repeat customers have shown up year after year.
"Anytime a shopper tells you that your event has become a tradition, well, that's always wonderful to hear," says Daniels. "A lady messaged today to say that this October will be her eighth show, and that there will be eight in her group for a girls' getaway weekend. We love being a part of that."
NAN What's Up on 10/04/2019
Print Headline: Junker's Dream